Here’s how Diwali is celebrated across the globe.
Diwali is India’s biggest festival and is celebrated with great enthusiasm around the country. But India isn’t the only place that celebrates Diwali. While the UK and the US are two other countries where Diwali is celebrated on a large scale thanks to the presence of a large Indian population, Diwali is a more recent addition to the culture of these two superpowers. Besides these, here are eight other countries that also celebrate Diwali with almost as much enthusiasm as India.
Even though the Hindu population in Indonesia is barely a few thousand in number, Diwali here is celebrated with much fanfare. The Indonesian island of Bali has a large Indian diaspora and is where the celebrations are the loudest. Diwali in Indonesia involves shopping for crackers, clothes and sweets, greeting family and friends, releasing floating lanterns along with performing various rituals, similar to those performed in India.
Diwali, also known as Hari Diwali in Malaysia, is celebrated almost all over the county. The festival begins with the traditional ritual of bathing in oil before dawn, following which prayers are said and visits are made to temples. Malaysia observes a public holiday on the day and even though fireworks are banned here, the brilliantly lit-up streets and houses make up for its absence of fireworks.
Just as in India, Fiji celebrates Diwali with enormous zeal. People shop new clothes, exchange gifts and sweets with their loved ones, clean their houses and beautify their homes with numerous decorations and lights. Various schools and universities also host Diwali parties.
Diwali, known as Tihar in Nepal, is celebrated to honor Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and Ganesha, the lord of new beginnings. The festivities in Nepal last for five days and each day has its very own significance.
The first day is dedicated to cows, who are fed and prayed to. The second day is in honor of dogs, who are fed specially-prepared delicious meals. Lanterns and lamps are lit on the third day of the festival to signify the victory of lord Rama. The fourth day is dedicated to the lord of death, Yama and finally the fifth final day, known as Bhai Dooj celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters.
The Republic of Guyana in South America celebrates Diwali as per the Hindu calendar and also observers a national holiday. The origin of the festival in Guyana dates back to around the early 1980s and holds a special significance for its Hindu community. The celebration, like in all other parts of the world, includes distribution of sweets, illuminating houses, visiting relatives and praying at temples. The distribution of sweet signifies the importance of sharing and the festival marks the triumph of good forces over bad.
6. Sri Lanka
Diwali, popularly known as Deepawali in Sri Lanka, is perhaps one of the most widely celebrated festivals of the place. Associated to the epic Ramayana, Sri Lanka celebrates the festival for five whole days by the Hindu Tamilians scattered across the island. The festivities include display of fireworks, lighting of oil lamps and performing various spiritual rituals along with preparation and distribution of various savories among friends and relatives.
Diwali in Thailand is is celebrated under the name of Loi Krathong which means, ‘to float a basket’ and is observed on the full moon day of the 12th month according to the Thai calendar. Sensational display of fireworks take place across the country, hot air balloons made of rice paper are released in the sky and lamps made of banana leaves and candles are set afloat in almost all bodies. Various boat parades and cultural performances are also organised on this day to add an element of entertainment to the festivity.
Observed as a public holiday, Diwali in Mauritius is celebrated primarily by the Hindu community that forms over 50 per cent of the total population of the island. The festival not only marks the victory of Rama over Ravana but also commemorates the victory of Krishna over the demon king Narakasura. Earthen lamps are lit outside homes and colourful rangolis are drawn to celebrate the spirit of Diwali.